When a book gets your kids excited to read more, that’s about the most beautiful thing in the world. But when a book gets your kids excited to create too, it’s absolutely thrilling. And that’s just what happened when my girls discovered the gorgeously produced new Alexander Calder pop-up book, Alexander Calder: Meet the Artist! by Patricia Geis.
If your child hasn’t yet been introduced to the magic of Calder–I fell in love with his mobiles at the Whitney Museum when I was a little girl– this is the perfect book to set kids off on a lifelong love of art. This marvelous volume is filled with flaps, pop-ups, colorful illustrations (with lots of red, of course), and little surprises that are so befitting of Calder’s own spirit, I’d imagine him reading it himself and smiling from cover to cover.
It starts with bite-size trivia about his life from the standard biographical info, to details that kids will love (He used to wear red flannel shirts and dust-covered shoes, and his pockets were full of things…) then continues with descriptions of his most exciting works–toys, sculpture, painting, mobiles–all coupled with questions and projects for kids to really get them thinking about them.
In fact I’d call it a book as much as a craft project prompt for rainy days.
Kids about 7 and up will love the book on their own, but I’d think even a 5 or 6 year old (who can take good care of a pop-up book) will be delighted with some parental guidance and appropriate paraphrasing. I mean, there is nothing not to like in this book, no matter how old you are.
Of course the page that captivated my girls most was the pop-up of the Calder Circus; at the end of the book there are even little figures you can punch out to help you create your own circus show. But they took it one step further when they read the question: Do you think you could create something beautiful out of everyday objects?
Before I knew it, a cardboard box, spare ribbons, half an egg carton and who knows what other odds and ends were magically collected from around our home, then whipped up into their very own 3-D circus complete with tightrope walker, grandstand, and “guy on a trampoline.”
I think a trip to the Whitney is in our near future.
Find Alexander Calder: Meet the Artist at our affiliate Amazon or support your favorite local bookstore.